For the second year in a row, Jamaican media star Julie Mango was voted the Jamaican Social Media Personality of the Year in the Best of Jamaica survey conducted annually by the media platform, Jamaicans.com.
Early life and Inspirations
Social media personality Julie Mange was born Juliet Bodley in Clarendon, Jamaica. She has been known by the nickname her father gave her since she was eight years old. She earned the nickname because she used to eat a lot of Julie mangoes. She moved to Manchester when she was 11 years old and attended Manchester High School where she was a Cadet Girl and known for her performances with the school’s drama club. She says that love of the performing arts was instilled in her throughout her childhood and teen years, and she said she takes inspiration from her father and uncle who told stories in Jamaican Patois. In addition to providing an audience for the conversations between her father Basil Bodley and Uncle Hugh Bodley, which taught her Patois and the basics of storytelling, she cites her drama teacher, Ms. Juliet Colie, who supported her efforts and sharpened her skills.
Passion For Performing Arts
At age 19, she earned a private pilot’s license in Jamaica only to realize that she wasn’t interested in pursuing a career as a pilot. Taking a different tack, she studied structural engineering at the University of Technology and became a professional engineer. She went on to earn a master’s degree in engineering management at Florida International University and returned to Jamaica for a time before working overseas. Throughout her career in engineering, her love for the performing arts never left her, and she realized she had a natural talent for entertaining people.
Open About Mental Health Challenges
While she pursued her engineering career along with her performing arts hobby, Julie Mango experienced mental health challenges that led her to become an advocate for better approaches to mental health treatment. She openly discussed her challenges on Instagram – she was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder at age 21 and made it her goal to remove the stigma associated with mental illness. Her work with the Jamaica Defense Force (JDF) exacerbated her mental problems, and she spent time in Ward 21, the psychiatric ward at the University of West Indies Hospital, which strengthened her desire to improve treatment of the mentally ill. She believes that her life experience only enhances her talent as a performer and that she gives people the tools to face their problems and overcome them.
TikTok Success and Current Activity
During the COVID-19 pandemic, she was working from home and found herself with nothing to do in the evenings, so she decided to post a video on TikTok. It was called, “How Jamaicans Give Praise vs. How Americans Give Praise,” and it went viral. She never expected anyone to even see it when she posted, but its popularity with TikTok viewers led her to produce content every weekday, and as she says, “The rest is history.” Her content centers on skits about the people and culture of Jamaica, which she also posts to Instagram, and she has a large online following.
Julie Mango has many talents. She continues to create her social media offerings, and she is a Certified Life Coach and a popular public speaker. She is hoping to make a career as an actor and move on to “the big screen.” She has filmed a pilot for The Julie Mango Sketch Comedy Show and continues to have serious goals. She also plans to author her own story, describing the many ways she defied the odds and overcame obstacles to become the success she is today.
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